Milt like a fine wine

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Believe it or not, Milt Stegall might be playing the best football of his career right now.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback tied a career-high with 11 catches last night for 162 yards in his team's 29-0 thumping of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"It didn't seem that good," Stegall shrieked last night after learning his totals.

Combined with his 10-catch, 254-yard performance last week in Edmonton, the 36-year-old now has 21 catches for 416 yards and one touchdown in his last two games.

"Milt's a weapon, and we're not afraid to use him," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said.

In a moment rarely seen, Stegall had to leave last night's game in the second quarter when he took a vicious hit in the back from Ticats defensive back Tay Cody while making a catch over the middle.

Stegall, who is one tough hombre, missed only four plays, and he'll be in the lineup Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium for the rematch against the Tabbies.

"I'm not sitting out a game," Stegall said. "I got the rest of my life to heal."

NIGHT OF FIRSTS: Backup Bomber RB Graeme Bell scored the first touchdown of his career when he caught a four-yard pass in the first quarter.

"It was a nicely set up play where I basically come wide open on it," Bell said. "It was basically a gift from the coaches. It's nice. I'll take it. ... It's always nice to get a touchdown. You're buying TV time."

Meanwhile, Bombers LB Neil McKinlay nabbed his first career interception when Ticats punter Pat Fleming inexplicably passed the ball instead of punting on third-and-19.

TROUBLED CANADA: You can forgive Bombers defensive end Tom Canada if he had a lot on his mind during last night's game against the Ticats.

The third-year Bomber's girlfriend, Tara Klimchuk, was injured in a car accident Thursday morning in Winnipeg after dropping off Canada at the airport.

She was driving Canada's truck when it veered off the road and struck a tree on Route 90 at around 8 a.m.

"She dozed off," Canada said. "She works late at night."

Klimchuk was taken to hospital with injuries to her face and arms, but Canada, who learned of the accident after arriving in Hamilton on Thursday afternoon, said she'll be OK.

Regardless, he still had trouble focusing last night at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

"I had a (crappy) first three quarters," Canada said. "My mind was somewhere else. I just couldn't really concentrate.

"I told myself all day I wasn't going to think about it. Then it seemed like it was always just in the back of my mind."

Canada finished with two of Winnipeg's five sacks and also had a pass knockdown.

LATE HITS: The Ticats and the CFL honoured SB Terry Vaughn before the game. Vaughn became the league's all-time receptions leader two weeks ago ... One of Bomber QB Kevin Glenn's two interceptions was pulled off by his former college roommate, Sam Young, who was making his Ticats debut ... Perhaps the only member of the Bomber defence who might have had trouble sleeping last night was DB Kelly Malveaux, who dropped two sure interceptions ... Winnipeg DB Robert Bean, with an interception last night, has two picks in two career CFL starts ... The Hamilton Spectator sports section yesterday featured a two-page poster spread that read: "I'd rather be 1-5 than from Winnipeg."


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